||Issue No. 307||19 May 2006|
Open for Business?
Interview: Out of the Bedroom
Industrial: Cloak and Dagger
Legal: The Fantasy of Choice
Politics: Labor Pains
Economics: Economics and the Public Purpose
Corporate: House of Horrors
History: Clash Of Cultures
International: Childs Play
Culture: Folk You Mate!
Review: Last Holeproof Hero
The Locker Room
Pleased with Beazley
What is Working Class
National Day of Protest
Higher Profile for Labor
Beazley to Halt Maxi-Scam
After attending a protest addressed by former MaxiTRANS employee Mark Walker, Opposition leader Kim Beazley announced a major shift in ALP policy, banning employers who retrench locals from using guest labour.
Ballarat company MaxiTRANS, which builds semi-trailers, made headlines last week after it sacked 35 Australian employees while keeping on up to 25 Chinese welders it imported last year at the same time that it temporarily froze its apprenticeship program.
Walker, one of the sacked MaxiTRANS employees spoke at the rally saying that he grew up in Ballarat, spent 12 years in the Australian Defence Force and then returned to work in Ballarat two years ago.
He has not had one day off and was willing to be trained to do higher skilled work at the plant.
Walker says the local MaxiTRANS workers had been assured they would not be the first to go if there were sackings in the event of a business downturn. He was sacked last week with no notice and feels he has been lied to.
The ACTU has welcomed the plan that would require employers to show that they are not laying off Australian workers one day and then applying for cheaper overseas workers the next.
"The Howard Government is handing out 100 overseas worker visas a day and is failing to properly check whether these are being used to replace existing Australian workers," ACTU president Sharan Burrow says.
In the last ten years 270,000 skilled workers from overseas have been imported and yet 300,000 young Australians have been turned away from TAFE.
The ACTU has also this week written to the Howard Government to request the establishment of new bodies to certify employer applications for temporary work visas.
"The new certifying bodies would include representatives from job and training bodies, local councils, unions, and government and ensure that employers exhaust all avenues to employ or train Australian workers before receiving approval to bring in overseas workers," Burrow says.
"I think all Australians would agree that this is reasonable and is something that a Government that cares about Australian workers should be doing."
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